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From Aging Children to Foreign Adventure


Ah, yes. The dog days of summer.


A distaff version of Big, 13 Going On 30’s gender bended story takes on a contemporary Sex and the City gloss in telling what becomes — due to a warm, charismatic turn from Alias star Jennifer Garner — an endearing coming-of-age story. Where Tom Hanks’ character magically grew up, but still remained in his childhood world, Garner’s character has been zapped into her future, with her childhood friends grown up (including Matt, the chubby boy next door, who’s turned into Mark Ruffalo) and her parents aging. Director Gary Winick (Tadpole) sets a snappy pace. When combined with Garner’s gawky sweetness and Ruffalo’s enigmatic dreamboat, what you’ve got is an engaging and wholly preposterous gumdrop of a film.


In Hidalgo, his first film since completing the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Aragon’s Viggo Mortenson is back in the saddle as Frank T. Hopkins, a real-life horseman once billed as the ‘greatest distance rider the West has ever known’, and now a down on his luck cowboy. A story of second chances, Hopkins is enticed into entering the ‘Ocean of Fire’, a treacherous 3,000-mile race across the Arabian Desert. Mortenson’s wary, taciturn soulfulness works. Unfortunately, this not-so-ripping yarn about Western will prevailing over sandstorms, conniving competitors and Muslim pride turns into an all-too-predictable affair, charming but hardly dazzling.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at August 5, 2004 6:37 PM in Video & DVD


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